US, UK gov’ts opposed to extension of transitional period

US, UK gov’ts opposed to extension of transitional period
Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak hands over a document detailing the proposal on peace deal roadmap to President Salva Kiir on July 16, 2022. [Photo: Courtesy]

Three embassies based in South Sudan have turned down an invitation from the State House ahead of the planned meeting on the electoral Roadmap.

The United Kingdom, the United States and Norway said they will not be a party to the event that is most likely to extend the transitional period of the current regime, unless proper consultation is undertaken with all the parties involved.

“Whether a roadmap and an extension are seen as legitimate by the people of South Sudan and the international Community will depend on an inclusive consultation process. Our position will therefore need to be informed by whether such consultations take place,” read the letter addressed to President Salva Kiir by the representatives of the aforementioned countries.

The letter was signed by William Flens – Charge d’Affaires, US Embassy, Siv Kaspersen, Ambassador of Norway and Jonney Baxter the Ambassador of the United Kingdom.

“The roadmap must demonstrate how another extension would differ from the previous ones and include steps for clear progress in setting up the institutions and mechanisms necessary to hold elections. Moreover, we believe that involving other stakeholders is essential to achieving the success and recognition your government wish to achieve.

The diplomats were among the high-level officials invited for the announcement set to take place this morning (from 10 am) at the Freedom Hall.

Other guests included top g​​overnment officials, Members of Parliament, Civil Society and all Stakeholders of the Revitalised Peace Agreement.

The three governments want all the remaining chapters of the transitional period implemented without further delay.

“While we understand that your transitional government is discussing a roadmap to deliver the many outstanding provisions of the R-ARCSS, we regret that we are unable to attend the function at the Freedom Hall tomorrow morning at Ambassador or Chargé d’Affaires-level.

“We cannot guarantee that we will be able to support a roadmap or an extension in other circumstances.

“We understand that all relevant parties to the R-ARCSS have not been included in consultations about the contents of the roadmap and an extension to the transition period. The R-ARCSS requires all signatories be consulted should there be an amendment to its provisions.

“Therefore, we are writing to you (President Kiir) personally to express our profound concern that fully inclusive consultations must take place with civil society, faith-based groups, business, women’s groups, youth representatives, eminent persons, and international partners before the R-ARCSS is amended. We wanted to tell you this privately, in advance of having to say anything publicly,” added the letter seen by City Review.

The letter further reads: “While it is for all the parties to the Agreement to determine the roadmap’s precise details, it is important that it sets out a credible pathway towards achieving all the goals of the R-ARCSS.

“Elections are vitally important as they will allow South Sudan’s people to choose their government, but elections are not a goal in themselves: a roadmap must include the establishment of permanent and inclusive national institutions.”